Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saturday, we did some shopping for the Costanzo's vegetable garden then came home and planted strawberries and rhubarb. On Friday evening, we watched Despicable Me One, so Saturday we watched the second movie and then today, Sunday, we attended Stake Conference and then this evening we watched Frozen.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Arrived in Gretna, NE on 24 April after having a wonderful visit with Uncle David and Aunt Connie. While there we had the opportunity to visit with Elder Gowans' cousins Keith and Clark Hepworth and also Keith's 5 children, Adrian, Cydney, David, Hannah and Alison. Beautiful young children. After arriving at Matt and Becky's we had the opportunity to renew our love and family ties with each of them. Elder Gowans ran a 5k with Josie, circling the school 9 times. We spent a fun evening together. Then on the 25th, we made Jam and then went to the drive through zoo south west of Gretna a few miles and had a fun time viewing from the car many elk, birds, deer, buffalo and then we hiked up a trail to see some wolf and bear. We had a nice evening together.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today was Harry Adams' 90th birthday. We celebrated by having breakfast at the waffle house. After we ate breakfast we went back to their home and looked through the ward rosters of both the Brownlee and the Bossier wards to see if there were people we remembered and to call some to go visit. We ended up calling several people but only found Sister Stallings and Sister Haley at home. Sister Stallings was home but Sister Haley was on her way to work. So we only visited Sister Stallings. We spent 3.5 hours visiting her. While there I met an old friend, Gary Shelton. He was there putting up a fence in the backyard. This evening we went out to eat at a New Orleans style restaurant called Copeland. None of us had eaten there before. We returned home and had a nice evening together.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Friday we drove to Huntsville, Alabama to visit Dale and Beth Collins. We spent the evening going to the temple with Beth. We returned home around 12:30 or 1 am. Dale had returned by that time from his TDY. We visited for a while before heading to bed.

Saturday we visited Redstone Arsenal. We also watched an IMAX movie there called the Hidden Universe. We then returned to their house and visited with some of their sons. We played some card games and enjoyed visiting throughout the evening.

Sunday we went to church. Dale and Elder Gowans visited a lady in the hospital. We then had Easter dinner at the Collins' home with two of their sons and their families. We then returned to the hospital and drove the lady home. We then returned to the Collins and spent the rest of the evening visiting.

We have spent all of Monday driving from Huntsville to Bossier City, Louisiana.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This morning we went out to the Infantry Museum and spent about 4 hours there. While there we watched an IMAX production called "We the People".  The museum is brand new and dedicated to the Infantry of the US Army, from the Revolutionary war through the today. We then went with Calvin and Blue to meet Mary Francis, a childhood friend of Sister Gowans' mother, Rosa. Mary had met Sister Gowans once before when she was just a little girl, shortly after Betty was born.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday morning we arose at 530am and ate a quick breakfast. We washed the bedding and finished packing everything up. We loaded the back of the car with everything. We had 5 boxes left over so we put those on top of the car. During that time the Esteps came over and they assisted us as we wrapped the boxes in plastic and tied them to our car. The young missionaries came over to say goodbye. We drove to the waffle house and had breakfast with the Esteps and Morrises. We also took pictures together. Sister Estep and Brother Morris didn't like how the boxes were tied down, so we redid that before leaving. We drove off to the comcast place and returned our internet modem. We filled up with gas and drove to Eatonton, GA and bought a dozen copies of Song of the South along with a book to read to our grandchildren. We also bought a rabbit's foot. We drove to the Georgia Macon Mission office to say goodbye to whomever was there and to visit since we had never been to the office before. We drove on to Phenix, AL. We had a nice reunion with Calvin and Blue Newsome.

On Tuesday we drove around the city and saw historical places to include the home of Dr. Pemberton - the inventor of the Coca Cola Recipe - in Columbus, GA. We drove by the cotton mills and where the old houses once stood where the cotton mills workers lived. This is where Sister Gowans' mother and siblings grew up. We drove to Newsomeville and to the Newsome Cemetery and saw a few other historical places. We also met Susan - the daughter of Calvin and Blue - and another cousin, Brenda.

This morning we drove out to Fort Benning and drove all around it. Then we drove to the church house where Grandma and Grandpa Neal met. This evening we met up again with the two cousins for dinner. Calvin took Elder Gowans on a tour of their property and Elder Gowans unintentionally and not knowing any better left the gate open which allowed the horses to escape. They had to call Donna who takes care of the horses to come and call the horses. When they heard her they all came running back to the pasture. Elder Gowans will not make that mistake again.

We have taken many pictures and will post them when we have access to a computer. Much thanks to my beloved and beautiful daughter, Rosalee, for writing this for me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The final day of our mission was just as busy as most of our other days. We attended the Augusta Ward Sacrament Meeting and enjoyed a wonderful Fast and Testimonty Meeting. We will miss this wonderful ward as well as the Grovetown Ward where we have many dear friends. Afterwards, we headed up to post to attend to our Branch responsibilities. Elder and Sister Morris instructed the Temple prep class for Brother and Sister Richards; during that time Elder Gowans went and picked up brother Simpson for an interview with President Estep. We also grabbed brother Wildman to be his battle buddy. We got Brother Simpson to his appointment, but then he had to take Brother Wildman to his Company and get him checked out. It actually works out real nice when we have a soldier not billeted in his Company barracks; we can use him as a battle buddy and no one knows the difference.

We had a wonderful Fast and Testimony meeting on Post too. We missed several of our soldier as something came up that kept them away. We missed saying goodbye to them. Unfortunately it was the two who are in the missionary prep class. After saying many goodbyes to our wonderful friends, we departed and went to the Johnson family's home to give brother Johnson a blessing prior to his surgery tomorrow. We will continue to keep in touch with many of these wonderful friends.

This evening, we went out to say goodbye to Sister Malcom too. She became a real good friend; we are so glad that we learned of her and was able to give her some company during some very lonely periods.
Here we are with sister Malcom

After returning home, the Meachams came by, then Sister Mitton, then the Elders, we had a wonderful visit with each of them. We love them all!

We did get some packing done!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday! Our final Temple trip with our soldiers. Our final day to see the miracles that come to pass, which enable us the ability to get soldiers off post and into our cars and take them to the temple. This morning, Elder Gowans picked up Brother Wildman at his barracks and drove him to Brother Barnes barracks to act as his battle buddy. Once we got him checked out, we then took Brother Barnes to Brother Wildman's company (he is not billeted there) so Brother Barnes could act as his battle buddy. What a crazy morning; this entire process took just under an hour before we finally received the permissions that we needed to take them off post. Supposedly all this had worked together in advance, but no one had the required permissions that were supposed to have been handed down to the desk Sargent on duty that morning. But, it is all worth it to see these young men get to the temple. Also attending was Sister Lonsberry, Brother and Sister Richards, Brother Halford and President Estep. Supposedly the Schoults were there, but we didn't see them.

 Photos of our little group at the temple.

Top left: Brothers Richards, Estep, Halford, Barnes, Wildman, Morris
Bottom Left: Sister Richards, Sister Gowans, Sister Lonsberry, Gowans

On the way home from the temple, we dropped Brother Barnes and Wildman off at the Mall to have his phone checked out. Then Elder Gowans dropped Sister Gowans off at the chapel so she could attend a baptism at the Augusta ward; Elder Gowans then returned to the mall only to find that they couldn't find the AT&T store; we did find it and we did get everything accomplished. After which, Elder Gowans took them back to post and then went and picked up Sister Gowans from the baptism. At that point, we picked up two of our Elders and took them to a BBQ at the Hicken home, whose daughter had just been baptized. From there we went to see Elder and Sister Morris and take them the area book, the map book, which contains a map to every member of the church in the stake, of which we know of. We also helped in doing some things around their trailer to help them get further settled in.
We just realized that we didn't post a blog for Friday the 11th. Friday afternoon, we took Elder and Sister Morris to visit Brother and Sister Criswell; he is the POC for the Martinez Ward. They have now visited all the POCs in all the wards that we have a POC for, save one. They will have to arrange with him a time to visit and get together. After our visit with Brother and Sister Criswell, we felt impressed to stop in and introduce them to Sister Barrett. Her husband is in the Navy and as of this month, his assignment will change from shore duty to sea duty. He will become a sub rider. A sub rider is not attached to a submarine crew, but rather is assigned to accompany a crew as a linguist or an analyst. They will stay in close contact with her; she is due with a baby in just 3 months, probably about the time he pulls his first sea tour. From there we went to visit and say goodbye to our dear friend, Brother Derouen. We hope that Elder and Sister Morris will be able to put their arms of love and fellowship around Brother Derouen and bring him back into full activity in the church.

We had a good group turn out for our institute class; we discussed the Articles of Faith, it was our final lesson. We will miss this special evening. We are so happy for Elder and Sister Morris and all the grand experiences they will have. We will miss this wonderful mission!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This morning, we attended our final Zone Training Meeting. We met several new Elders and Sisters, unfortunately, we will not be able to get to know them; maybe someday in the future we will have an opportunity to meet again and get to know them.

This evening, we took Elder and Sister Morris back out on Post to introduce them to several more families. We introduced them to the Hands, the Janssens, the Azbills, the Andersons, the Galans, the Fishers, and the Hickens. We are pleased that we have this time to help them get to know people.

Photos of all the missionaries in our Zone. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This morning, Elder and Sister Morris came out to the Library while we were there to check things out. They seemed to enjoy the service rendered there; they will be signing up to serve there too. This evening we took them to visit several families on Post to include our last two families who have deployed husbands. So we visited Sister Herr, Sister Sanders, the Despains, the Patchetts, the Rafns and the Alberts. Tomorrow evening we will continue to our visits.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This morning, Elder Gowans went to help Elder Morris set up his shed and clean out their fifth wheel so they could get settled in a little quicker. It is a pleasure to help and assist them.

This afternoon, we all went out to Sister Swartz's home to introduce them to each other. We had a nice visit with her.

 Sister Swartz

This evening, Elder Gowans and Elder Morris attended our Branch Presidency meeting. Once we leave, Elder Morris will be called to assume the duties of the Branch Executive Secretary.

Monday, April 7, 2014

This morning, we said goodbye to several people with whom we have served for many months. Sister Gowans has served the same two ladies in the Patient Advocacy office, while Elder Gowans has seen many nurses and LPNs come and go over the past two years, he said goodbye to those with whom he currently served. They were all shocked that today was his last day, no warning had been given. No hail and fairwell was desired or wanted, just a simple goodbye was fine.

Elder and Sister Morris came by the hospital to check things out to see if they wanted to continue the tradition of Red Cross service; we were able to show them around a little. Later thiis afternoon, we took them to meet Sister Dixon and her son Jack. It was good for them to get acquainted.

Last of all, this evening, we had a real good Family Home Evening. Twelve of us were there. We have enjoyed having Sister Richards, Sister Lonsberry, Brother Wolfe and Brother Hancock all there most every week. We hope they leave feeling loved and wanted.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

This morning, we got up to post early to teach two of our young men the Missionary Prep class. It will be an on going class for the next month. Hopefully, the Morrises will be able to finish it up for them. Then we took Elder and Sister Morris out to meet two of our sisters with deployed husbands, Sister Stott and Sister Malcom. We will visit Sister Swartz on Tuesday, then we will have it about wrapped up; only Sisters Sanders and Herr will be left to visit and they are here on post so it shouldn't be too difficult to get to them. We visited three families after General Conference ended this evening, the Johnsons, Powers and Olsons. Won't be too much longer and we will have run out of time, this week should see us through!
 The Barnes Avenue Friendship Chapel

 The 15th Regimental Signal Brigade Building across the street from the chapel
 Looking north up 26th Ave. from the Friendship Chapel
 Kiddie Corner from the chapel: The old E-551st company barracks undergoing renovation 

 The building behind will begin renovation soon. 
 551st Battalion HQ
 Brother Beaton

 Sister Stott and daughter Allison, daughter Taylor didn't want her photo taken
 Brothers, Barnes, Hancock, Lewis
 Brother Broussard
 Ourselves and Elder and Sister Morris out front of Friendship chapel

 Sister Abrey Lonsberry

Brother Barnes

Saturday, April 5, 2014

This morning, we met Elder and Sister Morris at the Friendship Chapel at 0800 in order to take them to meet our AIT students. Although they arrived a little late, we were very successful in meeting a majority of them. We needed to show them the ropes on how to go into the barracks and ask for someone to go and get a soldier. We also needed to show them which barracks belonged to which companies and battalions. Crazy thing was, is that unbeknown to us, just yesterday many changes had been made E-551 had been closed down and absorbed in C-369; other companies had moved into different barracks, soldiers had been moved all around also.We spent quite a bit of time asking questions and trying to figure out all the changes. I think we got it all sorted and figured out.

During the time just mentioned the power had all gone out, over the entire Post. It was out for approximately 4 hours. That put the cabosh on watching conference at the Friendship Chapel. So, after completing the rounds, we drove back to the apartment, the Morrises invited us to lunch and so we had a nice lunch with them. We learned that the power came back on around 1 pm so after lunch we headed back up to Post.

We enjoyed the 2nd session of conference and the Priesthood session also.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This evening, we had the opportunity to take Elder and Sister Morris to visit four families, the Jones family, the Murray family, Sister Goff and the Person family. Brother Jones is our one of our points of contact for the Grovetown ward and Brother Person is our point of contact for the Stevenscreek ward. These brethren keep us informed on military families who move in and out of their wards; that way we can keep our records up to date and keep abreast of soldiers who may be deploying. Elder Morris made connections with Brother Jones and Brother Murray finding something in common with both of these brethren. Sister Goff's husband departs with weekend and so she will appreciate the company of Sister Morris from time-to-time. This was Elder and Sister Morris' first time out visiting, we hope that they had a good experience and will now begin to understand all what is involved in the mission.

Here are some photos of our visit with the Jones and Murray families. We love these families and will miss them!
 The Jones Family: Jordon, Kade, Brother Jones, Sister Jones.

 The Murray Family: Brother Murray, Sarah, Sister Murray, Johnny, Timothy

We will miss you Sarah!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We had a wonderful reunion with the Morris family today; they safely arrived in Augusta about 7:20 pm. We were just finishing up an appointment with the Waite family when they texted us and told us they were at Walmart where they had permission to park their Fifth Wheel. We met up with them there and then had them follow us to our apartment where we ate dinner and then introduced them to the our young Elders and Sisters and also to Elder and Sister Meacham. I think they had a nice evening. We will be keeping them very busy over the next week as we will be taking them around and meeting many people.

We were happy to hear that the Dougal family is all safe at home in Layton; we look forward to getting to know this beautiful little lady, "Lady Hannah".

Two more of our soldiers graduated today:
 Sister Nielson and her husband
Sister Sellers and her mother

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

With no DDM this morning, we stayed in and worked much of the day on developing our next lessons for the Missionary Prep and Temple Prep classes we are holding each week. We got a good outline done for both of them.

Then this afternoon we went out and dropped in on and found home Brother George Derouen our friend who we taught and baptized last year. It was no coincidence that we found him home, it was his first day out of the Army; he is a free man! He was so happy, you could tell by the grin from ear to ear. We are very happy for him.

Then we went over to drop in on Sister Marzolf; her husband has been in Alaska for the past 5 to 6 weeks. He was due home the weekend of the 12th, but low and behold he was home! They had just walked in from coming back from the Airport. We had a nice visit with both of them. We are happy he is home.

The best news of the day is that David and  Rosalee's baby was born this morning; Hannah Louise Dougal. Both mom and baby are doing fine. We are so happy for all of them. We can't wait to see her. Isn't she beautiful?